Dissenting Opinions Don’t Make Me A Dick!

Dissenting Opinions Don't Make Me A Dick!

And let me just add to my title for a bit, if you don’t mind.

My dissenting opinions don’t by default make me:

  • Stupid
  • Naive
  • Mean
  • Rude
  • Negative
  • Nasty
  • A Troll

I could probably add to that bulleted list with tens of other words, but that’s probably enough to get the point across.

That’s right party people. I can disagree with your article, your idea, your infographic, even your business model and still be a positive human being. I can even be your friend and confidante.

Positivity Passionistas Need To Practice What They Preach

I’m so tired of seeing people spouting off that you shouldn’t pay attention to the “jerks.”

Who exactly are these “jerks?” Anyone who disagrees with them, with their specific ideas, views or actions.

Let me tell you something, princess … that’s not positive or perky or powerful. In fact, the word I’d use to describe it is pathetic!

Calling someone out as a jerk for simply asking a question about your idea isn’t showcasing your positive nature and can-do attitude. It’s showing your petty side. The one that only wants pats on the back and accolades.

While both accolades and huzzahs can certainly be social, the main function that most of us hope to achieve with our social shares is conversation.

Opinions absolutely are like a**holes, we ALL have one. But we absolutely don’t have to act like an a**hole when we share your opinion. And we don’t have to react like an a**hole when someone does share an opinion that doesn’t match our own.

Dissenting Opinions Make For Open & Honest Discussion

While recording a podcast episode with Ian Anderson Gray, this very topic came up.

He actually likes it when what he publishes garners a dissenting opinion or two.

If the only conversations you choose to allow must involve a consensus that your idea is the only idea, that your way is the only way, you’re actually closing yourself off to a lot of ideas that might enhance and strengthen your own.

Look at all of the great leaps forward in science and technology. Would any have happened if all the scientist naysayers decided they didn’t want to be a jerk by sharing their new theory? I’m guessing Steve Jobs would respond with a resounding N-O.

But, I Didn’t Ask For “Your” Opinion!

Yeah, actually you did. As soon as you clicked on the publish button you put your article, your idea, your graphic, your slides, etc. out for the world to see.

Leaving your comments section open and issuing a call to action to discuss just might get you … that’s right a discussion!

Do you honestly think that every reader of every article agrees with you absolutely, 100%, every time?

I can understand that you might get upset, and rightly so, if someone sharing a dissenting opinion calls you out harshly, calls you a name.

Wait, hang on a second, aren’t you actually the one engaging in name calling? Interesting.

Sugarcoating Is For Suck-ups And Sycophants

I don’t expect anyone to agree with me all the time. 24-7-365 agreement would be boring and pointless. How would any of us grow and evolve?

Every time I publish an article I know there’s the potential for pushback. And I welcome that pushback if it’s delivered in a calm, rational, based on facts and or experience, comment that opens up the opportunity for conversation.

I’ve seen that pushback from big names and small. And I’ve delivered my own pushback, again without worrying about the cachet and clout of the author. Even the big names out there are looking to converse. They don’t expect you to swallow everything they’re selling whole without asking any questions.

So, why should you expect that?

I’m often in the minority. And I’m fine with that. I learn something new with every dissenting opinion I read and choose to take in the spirit in which it was intended. A chance to engage in smart conversation.

My bestest digital gal pal and partner in podcast crime, Brooke Ballard sums it up:

… if you need a spoon full of sugar for the truth to go down, go watch Mary Poppins!

22 replies
  1. Danny Brown
    Danny Brown says:

    There’s a well known social media “personality” that likes to spout off about “ignoring haters, you’re not the jackass whisperer.” I can’t help but think of that person, and others like him, with this post.

    Just because folks have a different opinion and, shock horror, offer it, does not make them jerks, or haters, or jackasses. In fact, what it does is highlight how those that resort to this kind of “defence” are the real jackasses.

    Kudos to differing opinions and people who have the balls to stand up and disagree publicly.

    • Mallie Hart
      Mallie Hart says:

      I really appreciate you agreeing with me, Danny. I’d have to call you horrible names and denounce you as a dunce, otherwise. LOL.

      I was so thrilled to hear Ian say that he seeks dissenting opinions. I don’t know if you’ve had the pleasure of interacting with him, but he’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Yet, he gets the point. It’s all about conversation and furthering the discussion.

      I have no doubt, Danny, that if you disagreed with me, I’d come away with increased knowledge for having had the opportunity to discuss our dissenting views.

      • Danny Brown
        Danny Brown says:

        One of the folks I disagree with often is my co-author on the Influence Marketing book, Sam Fiorella. Prime example – he wrote a great post yesterday about trust, ads, social media and millennials, and the ensuing discussion was exactly how content and discussion should go – open, lively, respectful.

        Not sure about giving you more knowledge after a disagreement, mind you – unless it’s knowledge if beer, since that’s usually the outcome! 🙂

        • Ian Anderson Gray
          Ian Anderson Gray says:

          Wonderful discussion, Danny and Mallie! You’ve got me thinking about who that guy is, but I suppose the truth is we can sometimes be that guy.

          I remember the first time I received a really negative comment on my blog. It was obvious that he hadn’t properly read the article and he was really rude. However, despite those shortcomings I knew he had a point. I could have ignored or blocked him, but instead I took a deep breath and replied, trying to see it from his point of view. He then came back and apologised for being rude and we ended up having a really constructive conversation. Did we end up agreeing? Well, not really, but we at least understood where each other came from.

          In the podcast I mentioned that maybe you could get people to come round to your point of view. I didn’t quite mean it like that. It’s cool if you can do that, but I am really happy when I at least get someone to understand where I am coming from, even if they REALLY disagree with me. For me that is a result!

          Social Media Gurus (in the ironic sense) don’t like to engage with people who disagree. And why would they? Who would dare challenge the views of someone who has earned the right of such an elevated title?!

          • Mallie Hart
            Mallie Hart says:

            Love it, Ian! Lofty minds don’t have time for our petty disagreements.

            I didn’t think you meant you actually tried to drag someone kicking and screaming to your point of view. I just like the opportunity to share both sides of a story or issue.

            I’m not going to be universally loved anyway. So, knowing that, I might as well stir the pot and see what comes out in the stew.

        • Mallie Hart
          Mallie Hart says:

          Brooke and I are often on different parts of a page, though every once in a while we are on completely different pages. And it works. We’re always feeding off the energy and the education our discussions create.

          Nothing wrong with a little extra beer knowledge. Especially if it’s a good coffee, chocolate or oatmeal stout!

          Wait a minute, do I have to start spelling my name as Malli? Must I drop that unnecessary “e,” too.

    • Kelsey Vere
      Kelsey Vere says:

      i couldn’t agree more!

      You don’t post your opinions online solely because you want people to agree with you and your opinions. Clearly, there is a point to that.

      But people who disagree with your posts are even better because they provide a new outlook on the topic, perhaps one you haven’t thought of.

      And not even disagreeing, but having a different view. You can agree on the end result but still have different opinions along the way. Respecting these different opinions is what makes you grow as an intellectual being and as a writer.

      • Mallie Hart
        Mallie Hart says:

        Sorry for the slow response, Kelsey. I was taking a digital detox of sorts, letting my blog breathe.

        I so appreciate your comments here, as well as the great discussion on Google+. We all grow when our content leads to conversation, especially conversation that allows for careful contemplation of differing opinions!

    • Mallie Hart
      Mallie Hart says:

      Very true, Mike. And I know, quite well, that my writing style is rather combative. That’s why I’m so careful to dissect actions and issues, not specific people. And I think I often preface my articles with that so that there are no surprises.

      Some might think I’m too quick to don the devil’s advocate cap, but I’m consistent with it. It’s not something I do willy-nilly.

  2. Brooke Ballard (@madSMscientist)
    Brooke Ballard (@madSMscientist) says:

    I can think of a few peeps in the social sphere who are quick to call out the “haters” just because they disagree. Why does it even have to be a debate or argument? Why can’t it be rational, grown up people having a simple conversations in which opposing views are shared?
    It’s no secret that you (Mallie) and I have different ways of doing certain things.We have different personalities too. But when it comes down to not seeing eye-to-eye, I love that we can say (and MEAN) “agree to disagree” and move on and forward with our friendship, partnership, etc. I think that’s a sure sign of maturity — but you know, maybe I’m just a dick. 😉

    • Mallie Hart
      Mallie Hart says:

      You are a dick, Brooke! LOL. I kid, I kid.

      Even if things get a little heated amidst the debate, you can always go to your respective corners, cool off, come out and shake hands, then leave as friends. Right?

      Or is that a delusion of dissent?

      • Brooke Ballard (@madSMscientist)
        Brooke Ballard (@madSMscientist) says:

        No, that’s for realz (otherwise you’d be oh-so-lonely on our podcast!). It’s like any other relationship in my opinion. You have to be honest, but open. Clear on your intent, and ask for clarity when someone else isn’t being clear. Communication is key, so if you’re not open to the conversation, then why talk about anything in the first place?!

        • Mallie Hart
          Mallie Hart says:

          For realz (reals) is essential to what we do. The smart and savvy social audience can sniff out insincerity in a heartbeat. I don’t want to add to that sycophantic cacophony.

    • Danny Brown
      Danny Brown says:

      You spell your first name with an “e”. Clearly you are a dick to people who need that “e” more than you. Like people who call others jackasses for daring to disagree, for example – that word would look silly without an “e”. Or people who call others “haters” for disagreeing – then it would just be “hatr” (although that would probably make for a really cool social media buzzword for an online hat shop).

      In fact – keep the “e”, I’m off to register ha.tr! 🙂

  3. Melanie Kissell
    Melanie Kissell says:

    If someone disagrees with me, Mallie, that’s A-Okay. However, in my book, there’s a GARGANTUAN difference between disagreeing and being disagreeable. The latter often involves abusive labeling, mud slinging, name calling, threats, humiliation, and worse. That’s where my line is drawn in the sand. I have zero tolerance for disagreeableness.

    I’m more than willing and happy to engage in a discussion with someone who shares a different viewpoint. As long as the person is willing to converse with me politely, tactfully, respectfully, and with dignity. Those who choose to take a defensive stance, scream, holler, jump up and down, wave their arms, and do anything else that makes them appear to be void of compassion or intelligence can count me out and go seek another victim. I make no room in my life for people who want to set my hair on fire or lay a bomb in my lap … and then sit back and enjoy the show and the carnage.

    • Mallie Hart
      Mallie Hart says:

      Lovely Melanie, here’s your comment. I’m not really sure what happened, but here it is safe and sound. I’d never hide a comment from you, because I know any dissent from you would generate great discussion.


  4. Josh St. Aubin
    Josh St. Aubin says:

    Unfortunately, I agree with you Mallie. Comments are supposed to allow people to add their own point of view to the conversation, not stroke your ego. I love a good debate, especially when someone has a smart and articulate argument that really makes me think. Having a conflicting thought doesn’t make you a jerk; however, there is a right way and a wrong way to share your points without being a dick about it.

    • Mallie Hart
      Mallie Hart says:

      I don’t find it unfortunate that you agree with me, Josh. I find it unfortunate that there are marketers and consultants that are selling this my way or the highway mentality as the proper and correct way to do business.

  5. Adrian Jock
    Adrian Jock says:

    LOL, Mallie. I comment very rarely on blogs but this article “forced” me to do it. It reminded me of my comments posted on LinkedIn on one of your articles. At that moment I thought, “OK, maybe yet another one who thinks I’m a troll (or… you name it!) just because we disagree on something. Why did I waste my time again? I never learn to keep my mouth shut!” And I moved on.

    Well, this article made understand that my assessment quoted above was wrong. And I’m happy I wasn’t right 🙂

    I won’t share your article. I don’t think that it’s appropriate to my readership. Especially the headline. But I appreciate it. It’s like you’ve read my mind and then you wrote this article 🙂

    • Mallie Hart
      Mallie Hart says:

      Adrian, I simply thought our back and forth was done. I can agree to disagree and I can even get a little disgruntled with a disagreement (we are all human, after all) and refrain from letting that show. We can all agree to disagree. Sometimes it’s more painful than it is easy, but it’s a business skill that really should be taught in schools and business courses.

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